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This is not a rhetorical questions.

Hearts of Iron 3 is a great game, as far as I'm concerned. The interface is lovable and completely understandable. It's accessible, and yet difficult.

Why do people seem to prefer overpriced operational games with counters?

Is Hearts of Iron 3 completely unrealistic? Didn't seem that bad to me, at least with black ice mod.

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I played the Europe Universalis or whatever the name was, which is the underlying engine but a medieval to early modern setting. It sucked. The situations were interesting and it looked great, but actually piloting nations I rapidly found that the core mechanics of the game were just broken. They tried to make it challenging with so many balancing mechanics (dissent model, "inflation", crazy diplomacy restrictions on attacking anyone a d crazier reactions to not attacking whoever it wanted you to attack) that I wasn't commanding anything. The game was commanding everything to some bad movie script and trying to keep things on the rails by punishing deviations from its own hidden preferred path. The worst possible micromanagement nightmare coupled with minimal actual control, arbitrary consequences to everything, no where spelled out, etc.

Give me a hex and counter wargame with the players in charge and the designer not even in the same state, any day.

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This is not a rhetorical questions.

Hearts of Iron 3 is a great game, as far as I'm concerned. The interface is lovable and completely understandable. It's accessible, and yet difficult.

Why do people seem to prefer overpriced operational games with counters?

Is Hearts of Iron 3 completely unrealistic? Didn't seem that bad to me, at least with black ice mod.

I used to be a big fan of the World in Flames board game and was quite excited back in the late 90's when I heard that they were going to make a computer version of the board game. We know how that panned out. In the meantime, I found Hearts of Iron and that looked like it would scratch the WiF itch. It did. It had one of the most detailed tech trees I've seen in a game.

I bought HOI 2 when it was released and bought the Armaggedon expansion too. But, by this time, I was getting too good at it. I could beat the AI opponent hands-down every time on the hardest difficulty settings. I remember being hugely disappointed playing a HOI2 ARM Russian campaign and crushing the Germans in the spring of 1942 and conquering the whole of Europe and China by late 1943. So, in spite of all the 'improvement's to HOI3, I didn't pick it up until the 'Finest Hour' expansion.

I've played several campaigns of HOI3 TFH but have allowed the AI to control my armies. I set the objectives and the parameters etc but let the AI manage the action. This revitalised the game play for me and the improvements to this style of play coming in HOI4 insures that I will buy it close to release or soon afterwards.

With regards to realism, IMO it's at least as realistic as any of the other games that attempt to simulate WW2 at this level if not more.

BTW, which overpriced operational games with counters are you talking about? I play 'War in the East' as well, but only the scenarios.

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Certainly enjoyed the military aspect of HoI 3, best of the series, i simply love that it is realtime as well. The only operational game i really play is Command Ops, it feels kinda similar to the military aspect of HoI 3, only on a smaller, more detailed scale. A fusion of the two would be awesome.

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I've had some fun with HOI3, mostly as Italians. In the end, though, there were a whole lot of little niggles which exasperated me to the point of ditching it. I never got into the modded-game thing.

As to realism, it's got some things going for it, but struggles to cope when you deviate from a historical progression, and it's very easy to do better than whatever nation you're playing did historically. The tiny fluff detail, like unit type descriptions, is "all wrong" (Tigers in '38?) and the tech trees, while comprehensive just don't bear any relation to the tech factors that actually made a difference. Amphibious warfare is trivial to organise, as is airborne (though that, at least, is expensive to arrange).

Despite all that, with all its expansions, it's the best whole-world grand strategy game set in and around WW2, I reckon.

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Some of the cardboard warriors may remember Avalon Hills Third Reich. So when I bumped into HOI3 I had to get it and got all the expansions. I did enjoy the series and hope that HOI4 is a success. May even buy it, although there is only so much time in a day!

The other classic game from the era was Squad Leader and I think Battlefront's WEGO CMx2+ is the best example of a contemporary game taking all the positive aspects from that classic, cutting the bush lawyer arguments and adding interesting new features to the concept. It is a real winner in my opinion.

Whereas HOI seems to be trying too hard, if you get my drift. It cannot decide if it wants to be a sandbox where anything goes, or a depiction of what the challenges were for the various high commands. As a dinosaur gamer I do like to have a more historic flavour. Of course, that comes with the "it is on rails" type argument.

IMHO HOI is looking for gimmicks, like those silly animations! The game looks far better with the military icons and they do not take much to learn. Appreciate every game has to draw the biggest audience possible.

So IMHO if you have a cardboard background and appreciate historical aspects, CMx2+ is the best way to spend you gaming dollars and time.

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Jack Ration - nope, not even close, board wargames are still the gold standard of playability, game design, strategy, and realistic depiction of the main drivers in campaigns and whole wars. CM is a fine crossover game for the FPS, RTS, and video game twitchers, all much larger sets of people, that pulls them toward real wargames, which is a good thing. But real wargames remain real wargames and still smoke everything else, as games. Not close.

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I've enjoyed HoI in the past but don't play it now. I could go back to it - Paper Tiger's idea of using the AI to control his armies is interesting.

A huge flaw in the game is its lack of proper representation of supply. It is a strategic game so the supply modelling should be paramount, but it just isn't there - I've played games sending large German armies through Egypt, into Syria, Iran and to India and there seems to be no penalty for doing that. Historically the Germans could barely maintain two divisions in Libya.

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Played the heck out of Hoi2 (and Arsenal of Democracy and Darkest Hour, same engine as Hoi2 but better games). I bought Hoi3 on release, but oh boy what a mess that was. I picked up the full bundle later on when it was on sale for a few dollars, don't know why, never played it. Even with all the expansions, it was still a bloated mess IMHO.

Paradox seems to have picked up on that though and will incorporate the lessons learned in Hoi4, currently in development (pre Alpha). So, who knows Hoi4 will set things straight again for the Hoi series. I hope so.

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The main problem with the "railroaded" gameplay issue is that players (for example) if given historical France's OOB and starting position, find it incredibly difficult to lose outright to Germany, let alone in the fashion that occurred historically. Player Soviet Union can be even more ridiculous in that regard. So both come "pre-nerfed" so fans of historicity aren't left completely out.

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My issue with the HOI series was always the horrible air/naval system as well as the poor invasion mechanics (landing 10 mechanized US divisions on the coast of Japan with no friendly base anywhere for 1000 miles....yeah sure).

Also the game does not reflect the individual doctrines and technologies of the nations - HOI3 does not even have assault guns. Another example: tier IV heavy armor is the same technology for every nation, no matter if you play as Germany, US or Russians. There is no way to decide if you want to build fewer and more expensive high quality tanks or if you want to mass produce a standard model.

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I liked the HOI3's realtively realistic modelling of army organization considering that in HOI and HOI2 everything was simply about stacking largest pile of divisions. Takes a lot o micromanagement wich is why I like it and most people hate it :)

The absolutely worst thing about HOI3 is the AI. It is simply very easy to defeat without too much of a effort and does not use any sensible strategic strategies like holding back some reserves etc etc.

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Jack Ration - nope, not even close, board wargames are still the gold standard of playability, game design, strategy, and realistic depiction of the main drivers in campaigns and whole wars.

And the gold standard was abandoned many decades ago... ;)

Nobody's quite yet managed to achieve the same at the strategic/operational level as BFC have at the tactical (or are you going to argue that ASL is a "better game" than CMx2?). It'll happen one day though. I doubt it'll be Paradox that achieves it; they don't seem to have the historical or programming chops for it.

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Interesting to me that this discussion should turn up at just this time. After an absence of about eight years, a couple of weeks ago returned to HoI2. It is an arduous relearning process. I am wading through the voluminous manual while playing. The game is extremely complex, even more so than CM, and takes forever to play if—as I like to do—you start in 1936 so as to build up your manufacturing economy and forces.

Even though I have never managed to play a game through to completion, and therefore have yet to discover some of its hidden quirks and features, I have a lot of gripes with its design. I think it embodies a great idea, that of trying to depict the whole war in all of its important aspects and give players at least a taste of the kinds of problems and decisions faced by their historic counterparts. But...as usual, the devil is in the details and HoI seems to get those wrong time after time.

Take for instance the map. Instead of using hexes or something similar to regulate movement and combat, it uses "provinces". Now this worked fine in EU2 under the conditions prevailing in the era covered in that game. Clearly in HoI, Paradox is just once more attempting to milk the EU game engine to create a new game. And I have to say that that approach is crippled from the get go. Much better would have been to start with a clean sheet and designed a whole new game engine appropriate to the modern era, rather than to keep modifying a bad fit to try to get it to work not so badly.

Something else stands out in a negative way for me. Clearly somebody did a lot of research into WW II that went into the design of the game, which is why I find it so puzzling that they managed to get so many of the details so wrong, details that even a beginner grog might be assumed to know. A typical example that will have to stand for a myriad of instances. As part of the tech tree for the US fairly early in the game the player can develop an improved interceptor. When he does, what does he get? Why, he gets the Grumman F6F Hellcat. If the player chooses to put it into production, who does it go to? Why, the Army. The Army??? This is just plain inane. First of all, the Hellcat wasn't primarily what should be called an interceptor. It was a general shipboard fighter. Sure, it was missioned to fly CAP over the fleet, but it also escorted strikes, and occasionally did ground attack. And while the Army might have accepted an airframe or two for comparative testing, it did not form any squadrons of the type.

There are so many things wrong with this game that one could literally write a book enumerating all of them. Which is a great pity because as I began by saying, there is a really great idea buried beneath the mountain of all the things they got wrong. One earnestly wishes that someone, if not Paradox, would take the bull by the horns and do a game of this type and get it right. We should all live so long.

Michael

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I only play HoI I but the issue I found most unrealistic is one could start building almost as much as one wanted of a given unit type as long as one had the resources. There was no tooling up. You could instantly build as many destroyers for example as you wanted. No need to have shipyards pre-existing to build them in. Perhaps that was changed in later games.

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I only play HoI I but the issue I found most unrealistic is one could start building almost as much as one wanted of a given unit type as long as one had the resources. There was no tooling up. You could instantly build as many destroyers for example as you wanted. No need to have shipyards pre-existing to build them in. Perhaps that was changed in later games.

That's a point, although I suppose it could be argued that the game at least partially achieves that effect indirectly. By that, I am thinking of two things. The first is that at the start of the game the player can choose to devote the bulk of his resources to building factories that will come on line over the course of the game. This could be taken to represent also the construction of shipyards. The second thing is the gearing bonus which means that if you construct several of the same thing in series, they get cheaper in each subsequent iteration. I take this to represent tooling up as well as refining production techniques that come with experience. But I would be happy with a more explicit representation of shipbuilding.

Michael

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HOI 3 is the best grand strategic wargame on the market. Especially so if playing MP with say 4-8 players (COOP also if you like). It is Variable RT so the speed can be almost any speed. Anyone can pause the game at anytime. With all the expansions it is more realistic I find than any board game I have played in the past 30 years. What the program can do would take humans 100's of hours of paperwork and milk crates of rule sets. Defiantly worth every penny.

This is no RTS twitch game....and is light years ahead of WIF or the Third Reich. Starting in 36 of course can change historical outcomes and can have unhistorical effects. Most groups play the 38 or 39 scenarios for a more realistic flavour. There are countless mods for the program also :)

Playing against the AI is......... well the same as CM. Ok for beginners and MAYBE intermediate players but limited at the best of times.

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Played the heck out of Hoi2 (and Arsenal of Democracy and Darkest Hour, same engine as Hoi2 but better games). I bought Hoi3 on release, but oh boy what a mess that was. I picked up the full bundle later on when it was on sale for a few dollars, don't know why, never played it. Even with all the expansions, it was still a bloated mess IMHO.

Paradox seems to have picked up on that though and will incorporate the lessons learned in Hoi4, currently in development (pre Alpha). So, who knows Hoi4 will set things straight again for the Hoi series. I hope so.

Can not wait to see more on HOI4!

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What I've seen about HOI 4 worries me and excites me in similar measure. That they've retained some of the bits of previous verions (the map paradigm, for one) that annoyed the bejazus out of me is frustrating. The only explanation is, as ME says, that they're exploiting the crap out of Clauswitz (their engine). Not that the thing is worthy of the name...

I'll probably give 4 a go, once they've stomped the inevitable bugs, and depending on what I read on the game forums.

One of the things I find difficult to forgive is that Paradox seem to think that "sandbox" and "historical" are somehow exclusive features. Perhaps their chosen architecture makes it so, but it's a sticking point that needs, for me, to go away, so they need to change their architecture, IMO. Having a generic engine that can produce plausible emergent behaviour, but can be overridden by "historical" events if the conditions line up right (hint: they never do if human players are involved) doesn't sound so hard to me, if you're actually capable of making a game of this scope in the first place.

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I had a bad time with HOI v1. Is v3 much improved?

Am currently "enjoying/working on" Grigsby's WitP as a nice change of pace from the tactical CM games. And I have been wondering about HOI. However, I also have Grigsby's "War in the East" sitting here. So, I wondered which would be more fun.

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One of the things I find difficult to forgive is that Paradox seem to think that "sandbox" and "historical" are somehow exclusive features. Perhaps their chosen architecture makes it so, but it's a sticking point that needs, for me, to go away, so they need to change their architecture, IMO.

They need a way to keep USSR+USA from bending the rest of the world over and raping it sideways right out the gate.

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I had a bad time with HOI v1. Is v3 much improved?

I didn't play before HOI3, but, from my perspective at least, what I've heard of HoI1 and 2 suggest that yes, 3 is much improved. You have to patch if you're playing vanilla HoI3, because the first release was unplayably buggy. The expansions are well worth getting if you're going to play; they address many problems.

HoI3 added a load of new details, and moved firmly away from "push the biggest stack you can at the enemy to win". Its detractors in the HOI forums complained that it lacked flavour and required too much micromanagement. At least, those were the issues that I remember being raised.

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